I always think of the parable of Jesus feeding a huge crowd of people with 5 loaves of Barley bread and 2 fish when I think about the huge snow storm of 2009. We were debating whether to close or not that ugly winter day when we received a phone call at home from a dear customer. She was so distraught exclaiming that they had no where to go. It was the day of her brother’s funeral and all the guests were invited to The Italian Center for an after funeral dinner. The Italian Center called and said that due to the weather they were not going to open. Jim comforted her by telling her that we would gladly open for her family. She said she thought it would be about 30 people and Jim assured her that would be no problem. So we quickly went to work with only half of the kitchen staff along with Jim and I to take care of the dining room (our dining room staff was not able to come due to the storm). We figured serving 30 people would not be a problem.
Well at 11:30 as Jim greeted the family at the door and I took the count people kept flocking in. I had to keep running back and forth to the kitchen as the number of people kept increasing. The kitchen staff thought I was nuts as I ran in saying 30,40, 50, 60, 70, 80, 90, 100… It turned out to be more than 100 people. Our kitchen staff kept making salads, warming up bread, pounding and breading chicken. Pots and pots of tomato sauce and boiling pots of water for the pasta were on the stove. Meanwhile out front Jim took care of the drinks… hundreds of drinks… I took care of preparing the tables. It got to the point where one of the guests manned the soda machine. People were throwing money on the bar for payment for the drinks. There was a huge pile. Jim couldn’t give out change fast enough as he was pouring drinks. The salads were all ready and I ran around the dining room with trays of salads and warm bread. Believe me when I tell you Jim and I kept it together as best as we could but we must have been looking a little stressed.
All of a sudden all the family and friends started pitching in. One by one they all lent out a hand. Ever so grateful that we opened on such short notice that everyone took part in serving. Jim and I just couldn’t believe our eyes. We all started laughing and having a good time. e had servers, dishwashers, coffee makers… There must have been 30 people pitching in. And the bread kept coming out in basketfuls… the pasta kept coming out in bowlfuls…. hundreds of Chicken Parmagianas… It was unbelievable!
When I think back I wonder how we had all that bread, lettuce, chicken… on hand. It really was like the Miracle of the 5 Loaves and 2 Fish. What a wonderful tribute to our dear customer’s brother! All his friends and family pitching in like that making it so wonderful for the immediate family. A true inspiration for all of us to see!! And that wasn’t all… After begging everyone to stop that we will take care of everything after they left, nobody would leave until they all helped to finish cleaning. That is one story that Jim and I will never forget. Our customers never cease to amaze us. You see Coppola’s Restaurant isn’t about us. It’s all about the wonderful people in the community! They are truly amazing! We have to say Thank You!!!